I felt the ghost of Jack Webb working through me today. In the morning, I showed my international students the documentary “Los Angeles Plays Itself” which uses movies to explore L.A.’s identity crisis. Multiple shots of city hall stirred up some heavy “Dragnet” nostalgia. The spirit of Sgt. Joe Friday sparkled in the bright badges of the LAPD officers I spoke with about the horror in Chinatown. As I dropped by PETA’s fancy office in Echo Park, I imagined Jack Webb reborn as an animal rights crusader. In another era, he could have broken up backyard dogfighting rings, or brought down poachers with the same relentless moral superiority that he used to lecture acid-addled hippies. I hope PETA can help me with the turtle-pet store crisis. Stay tuned.
As for sharks, besides buying a 6-pack of Great White beer that features a slick, glossy and too-manic shark clutching a mug of froth and a chewed up surfboard, (I just had to buy it, I hope it’s not horrible), I’m reminding everyone to send comments asking the National Marine Fisheries Service not to undermine the Shark Conservation Act with loopholes and exceptions.
I also want to finish dividing “Jaws” into readable “chunks.” I hate that word. It evokes chewed up humans. Chunks of human flesh remind me that although I did succumb to using the word “Sharktastic” yesterday, I’m trying to outlaw cute shark language here–no “bite-sized” monologues, for example. Even the Great White beer package doesn’t resort to cutesy words, although I just noticed that the shark mascot stands on a sandy shore littered with a shell, a starfish and a bloody human hand, a kind of nautical crime scene.